JEWISH THOUGHT COURSE LIST – Fall 2017 

JDS 199SEM   UB Seminar Modern Revolution: Industrial, Political, Social – Richard Cohen

T/R – 2:00-3:20 – Baldy 119

Hardly any other events in modern human history have contributed more greatly to the transformation of humanity in its economic, social and political life than the industrial revolution (steam engine, railroad, factory line), the spread of democracy (American and French revolutions) and the spread of socialism (Russian and Chinese revolutions). Revolutions opened prospects such as the universal spread of democracy, the liberal transformation of religion, the growth of a worldwide metropolitan culture, and the prospect of general prosperity.  Seeking to better understand these opportunities by examining their beginnings, we will explore the old and the new in the prose and poetry of Kant, Feuerbach, Marx and Engels, Dostoevsky, Darwin, Nietzsche, and others.

 

JDS 199SEM    UB SeminarModern Revolution: Industrial, Political, Social Richard Cohen

T/R  – 3:30-4:50 – Clemens 19

Hardly any other events in modern human history have contributed more greatly to the transformation of humanity in its economic, social and political life than the industrial revolution (steam engine, railroad, factory line), the spread of democracy (American and French revolutions) and the spread of socialism (Russian and Chinese revolutions).  Revolutions opened prospects such as the universal spread of democracy, the liberal transformation of religion, the growth of a worldwide metropolitan culture, and the prospect of general prosperity.  Seeking to better understand these opportunities by examining their beginnings, we will explore the old and the new in the prose and poetry of Kant, Feuerbach, Marx and Engels, Dostoevsky, Darwin, Nietzsche, and others.

 

JDS 199SEM  UB Seminar – Justice – Sergey Dolgolpolski

T/TH 2:00-3:20 – 708 Clemens Hall

“A law that is not just is not law” said recently a protester against racial discrimination. This argument exemplifies a problem we will address in this course through reading, discussing, theatrically staging, and critically applying the work of the best writers and thinkers, both ancient and contemporary, who addressed the problem of justice in relationship to equality, law, and freedom. In that way, we will conduct a comparative study of the relationship between justice, law, and society in pagan, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Thought.

 

JDS 199SEM   UB Seminar – Origins of Good and Evil – Alexander Green

T/R  –  9:30-10:50 – Clemens 708

Determining the origin of our moral beliefs and values is one of the central debates that has animated Western philosophers and theologians across time. One culture may consider a certain action morally correct and another culture may consider the same action morally incorrect. Why is that? How do we know what is good and evil, right and wrong? Is there one standard that unites different value systems or are all systems equally correct and variable? This course will not directly tackle the specific beliefs themselves (whether it be the ethics of war and peace, euthanasia, suicide, abortion or any such issue), but will seek to examine the different reasons that groups may arrive at diverse answers. We will read selections of classical works such as Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Hebrew Bible, Aquinas’ Summa Theologicae, Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals, Martin Buber’s I and Thou, and view a movie: Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors.

 

JDS 199SEM   UB Seminar – Human and Animal – Noam Pines

T/R  –  11:00-12:20 – Filmor 328

The course will examine various depictions of human-animal relationship in Western literature and culture, from classical times to modern times. By looking at these texts, we will chart the emergence of a figure that occupies a borderline state between human and animal, and explore its implications for our understanding of Jewish and Christian relationships as well as human and animal nature. Readings include: Ovid, Marie de France, Hobbes, Shakespeare, Heine, Baudelaire, Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Kafka, and more.

 

TNS 199SEM   UB Seminar – Genesis and Gender – Marla Segol

T/R  –  12:30-1:50 – Clemens 708

This course will examine the meanings, interpretations, and applications of the Genesis stories in constructing and regulating gender roles in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It will examine sex and gender in the Biblical narrative, in Jewish interpretive literature, in Christian and Muslim scriptures, and in their commentary literature in late antiquity and the medieval period. The third portion of the class will discuss the activation of Genesis narratives in contemporary American political rhetoric on women’s communal and pastoral leadership, marriage, heteronormativity, contraception, and abortion. This course will show how the past affects the present, with attention to similarities and differences in the way people use religious discourse to shape their communities and their gender identities over time and across cultures.

 

JDS 208LEC/HIS 299LEC   Holocaust Lit & Culture Noam Pines

T/R  – 2:00-3:20 – Hoch 114

How does literature impact our understanding of the Holocaust? Is it possible to actually know this event? This course studies the Holocaust through a variety of genres, including poetry, novels, short stories, plays, and memoirs to gain a better understanding of the Holocaust as a significant event in world history. Students will study Holocaust and its political, cultural, and social implications through the lens of a variety of writers

 

JDS 210LEC/TNS 232LEC   Intro to Old Testament – Marla Segol

T/R  – 3:30-4:50 – Clemens 708

Who wrote the Bible? Why did they do it? What did they want to say? And how do we know? In this course we will carefully read parts of the Hebrew Bible to understand the narratives in it, the social context in which they were written, and the ways in which they generate meaning. That means that we’ll begin with the primary text, we’ll contextualize it historically and socially, we’ll pay attention to its style, and we will try to identify and understand the big questions asked and answered in the stories we read.

 

JDS 253LEC/RSP 253LEC/PSC 380  Jewish, Christian, Islamic Ethics/Classic and Medieval Political Philosophy – Alexander Green

T/R  –  12:30-1:50 – Clemens 708

This course will look at how Jewish, Christian and Islamic philosophers in the Middle Ages developed their political theories and codes of ethics in dialogue and debate with the classical philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. The course will also examine Machiavelli’s critique of these various attempts to synthesize medieval and classical ideas. Topics to be discussed include: God, the prophet, sacred texts, ethics, war, messianism and tolerance for those of other faiths.

 

JDS 399LEC   Redemption in Jewish Thought – Sergey Dolgopolski

T/R  –  11:00- 12:20 – Clemens 708

A survey of various conceptions of Redemption, in contrast to personal salvation or purely secular utopianism, as the central purpose of Judaism.

 

Hebrew Course List – Fall 2017

HEB 101LEC   Elem Modern Hebrew – Lilia Dolgopolskaia

M/W/F  –  9:00-10:25 – Clemens 708

The beginning course of Modern Israeli Hebrew. Essentials of grammar, syntax and conversational practice; elementary reading and writing. Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

 

HEB 201LEC   Intermediate Hebrew 1 – Lilia Dolgopolskaia

M/W  –  11:00-12:20 – Clemens 708

Further development of language skills: listening comprehension, oral efficiency, intermediate grammar and syntax, reading and writing. Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

 


 

JEWISH THOUGHT COURSE LIST – SPRING 2017 

JDS 103LEC   Introduction to Judaism –  Noam Pines

T/TH 11:00am–12:20pm – Natural Science Complex 205

Survey of Judaism and the rich Jewish legacy: basic philosophical, theological, social, and political values and practices of Judaism as they developed over time in a variety of social and political environments.

 

JDS 150LEC   Cultures in Rebellion and Avant-Garde Innovation –  Noam Pines

M/W 12:00pm-1:50pm – Natural Science Complex 125

Beginning in the late 19th Century, a new cultural movement was born: the avant-garde. This course seeks to understand how and why art and literature that deliberately challenged popular understanding came to be dominant.  This course will introduce you to the main currents of 19th  and 20th Century avant-garde history, theory, and aesthetic practice. Grounding our approach in the specific geographic and historical conditions that gave rise to these individual movements, we will explore their expression through a wide variety of mediums including art and visual culture, literature, poetry, music, and film. We will read both primary and secondary documents as we grapple with these movements’ modernist and revolutionary agendas in order to assess their successes and failures and evaluate their impacts and legacies.

 

JDS 199SEM  UB Seminar, Origins of Good and Evil – Alexander Green

T/TH 9:30am–10:50pm – Clemens 708

Determining the origin of our moral beliefs and values is one of the central debates that has animated Western philosophers and theologians across time. One culture may consider a certain action morally correct and another culture may consider the same action morally incorrect. Why is that? How do we know what is good and evil, right and wrong? Is there one standard that unites different value systems or are all systems equally correct and variable? This course will not directly tackle the specific beliefs themselves (whether it be the ethics of war and peace, euthanasia, suicide, abortion or any such issue), but will seek to examine the different reasons that groups may arrive at diverse answers. We will read selections of classical works such as Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Hebrew Bible, Aquinas¿ Summa Theologicae, Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals, Martin Buber’s I and Thou, and view a movie: Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors.

 

RSP 213LEC   World Religions – Marla Segol

M/W/F 9:00am-9:50am, Knox 109

Introduces the world’s religious systems and their cultural bases, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Judaism, and modern religious substitutes.

 

JDS 229LEC/HIS 229LEC/RSP 229LEC   Medieval Judaism – Alexander Green

T/TH 2:00pm-3:20pm – Clemens 708

“Medieval Judaism” is an exploration of Judaism as a minority religion living between the Crescent and Cross, the Islamic and Christian empires between the 9th to 16th centuries.  We will explore the dual nature of the medieval period for Jews: part intellectual and cultural flourishing and part persecution and tragedy. Topics to be discussed include: the origins of anti-Semitism, the crusades, philosophy vs. mysticism, the Maimonidean controversy, Jewish-Christian dialogue and polemics, the inquisitions, marranos and the responses to tragedy.

 

JDS 237LEC/HIS 237LEC/RSP 237LEC   History of Israel and Zionism – Daniel Kotzin

TH 6:00pm-8:40pm – Clemens Hall 708

This course will examine the development of the Zionist idea from its ancient and rabbinic origins to its modern political implementation. A particular area of focus will be on the modern Zionist movement, the variety of perspectives on Zionism within the movement, their conflicting visions, and the various ways in which Zionists sought to approach the Arab population. The history of Israeli politics, culture, and society since 1948 will also be a central element of the course.

 

JDS 284SEM   Justice In Bibles, Law and Philosophy – Sergey Dolgolpolski

T/TH 11:00am-12:20pm – Natural Sciences Complex 215

A comparative study of the relationship between justice, law, and society in pagan, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Thought.

 

JDS 286LEC/RSP 286LEC   Prayer and Altered States – Marla Segol

M/W/F 1:00pm-1:50pm – Clemens 708

What is prayer and how does it work? How is it related to meditation and song? This course explores the phenomenology of prayer, meditation and religious music, their ritual function, and their effects on the brain, on personality, and community. We focus on Jewish sources, placing them in historical context and comparing them to those of other religions such as Hinduism and Christianity.

 

JDS 306LEC/APY 393LEC   Anthropology of Religion – Phillips Stevens

M/W/F 1:00pm-1:50pm – Baldy 108

Religion has existed in all cultures of the world, and at all stages of recorded history indeed, it seems as old as humanity; and it is an extremely powerful motivator of behavior.  For these reasons alone its study is essential to anthropology.  This course considers religion as a dynamic system which can’t be fully understood without reference to its interrelationships with other cultural systems, as well as to the biology of the human practitioner. Specific topics include: the nature of belief and the concept of “supernatural”; types of supernatural agencies; types of religious practitioners; theories of religion; myth; ritual; divination; sacrifice; totemism; taboo; magic and sorcery; witchcraft; shamanism; religious altered states of consciousness: spirit possession, ecstasy, and simple trance; supernaturally-caused illness and religious-based healing; religion in cultural change; new religions, cults, and the occult today; and others. The course will be illustrated throughout with films, slides, videos, religious objects, etc.

 

JDS 402LEC/LAW 761LEC/COL 702COL   Jewish Law in Development – Sergey Dolgopolski

Time/Location TBA

Historical, sociological, and legal concerns in early and later rabbinic literature; how Jewish life and thought relate to trends in legal interpretation through the centuries.

 

HEBREW COURSE LIST – SPRING 2017

HEB 102LEC, Elementary Modern Hebrew 2 – Lillia Dolgopolskaia

M/W/F 9:00am-10:25am – Clemens Hall 708

The continuation of Hebrew 101. Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

 

HEB 202LEC, Intermediate Hebrew 2 – Lillia Dolgopolskaia

M/W 9:00am-10:25am – Clemens Hall 708

A continuation of Hebrew 201. Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

 


          

Course List Archives

JEWISH THOUGHT COURSE LIST Fall 2016

JEWISH THOUGHT COURSE LIST Spring 2016

JEWISH THOUGHT COURSE LIST Fall 2015

JEWISH THOUGHT COURSE LIST Spring 2015

JEWISH THOUGHT COURSE Fall 2014